Terrible Details Emerge during Hart Family Crash Investigation: Drugged Kids, Unrecognizable Bodies
Shocking details have emerged in an investigation into the fatal car crash that wiped out all eight members of one family in California last year. Drunken parents and drugged kids are only some of those chilling details.
A same-sex couple, Jennifer and Sarah Hart, along with their six adopted children in an SUV, perished after plunging off a 100-foot cliff in California on March 26, 2018. Since then, investigators have been at work trying to establish whether the incident was accidental, a murder-suicide or undetermined.
Police are trying to learn why an SUV they believe was carrying a family of eight plunged off a cliff in Northern California. Jennifer and Sarah Hart from Washington and three of their kids were found dead at the scene. The other three are still missing https://t.co/dQQXCt9Fx4 pic.twitter.com/pdDnzFF5IO— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 29, 2018
At a coroner’s inquest on Wednesday, CBS News reports that Greg Pizarro, a forensic pathologist, revealed that Jennifer, who was driving the vehicle, was drunk. She had an alcohol level of 0.102, way higher than California’s legal limit of 0.08.
Pizarro also testified that Sarah had high levels of Benadryl, a drug that can cause drowsiness, in her bloodstream at the time of her death. According to Dailymail.com, some of the children had the same drug in their systems.
The cause of death for Jennifer, Sarah, and three of the kids, was determined to be broken necks.
Mendocino County Sheriff Deputy Robert Julian told the inquest jury that he was able to identify Sarah Hart's unrecognizable body through a Minnesota driver's license found close to the car but was not able to do the same for Jennifer because she fell as the vehicle was being towed up the cliff at the crash site.
The Hart family coroner’s inquest has started with three officers and a search and rescue commander who have testified about the initial response to the crash and search for bodies in the days after.— Molly Young (@mollykyoung) April 3, 2019
The bodies of their children, Markis Hart, 19, Jeremiah Hart, 14, and Abigail Hart, 14, were reportedly found the same day of the crash. The bodies of 16-year-old Hannah Hart and Ciera Hart, 12, were recovered weeks later while 15-year-old Devonte Hart’s body is yet to be found.
Friends and family said Jennifer Hart was 'seatbelt Nazi' who would never drive unless all were belted. Yet no one in Hart family crash was wearing a seat belt, expert testifies.https://t.co/FgNtDlR0tR— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) April 4, 2019
Before the horrific tragedy, a neighbor of the family in Woodland, Washington filed a complaint claiming the children were being starved as punishment. No one came to the door when social workers visited the Harts’ home to check out the report on March 23, three days before the fatal crash.
Hart family crash: Investigators had said Jennifer Hart drove over the cliff at 90 mph. Expert testimony explains the SUV actually went over the cliff at just 20 mph.— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) April 4, 2019
For more information, watch the coroner's inquest live on our Facebook page: https://t.co/pwsxQ6Srsq pic.twitter.com/4dogs3Ebue
According to CBS News, Sarah pleaded guilty in 2011 to a domestic assault charge in Minnesota over what she said was a spanking given to one of her children. The couple was also under investigation by Oregon child welfare officials in 2013, but the case was eventually closed without any action taken.
Meanwhile, Sheriff-Coroner Tom Allman told PEOPLE that the purpose of the inquest, which is holding over two days, “is to get the evidence out as quick as possible.”
“There is a heaping amount of evidence, and honestly it belongs to the public,” Allman said. “There’s just so many unknowns on this, but now we think we know a lot of the unknowns.”